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Chanel and Peter Marino are going steady. It’s not a new romance — they’ve been in love with each other for some time, but now the relationship is hotter than ever. I mean, hearts and flowers. Especially camellias!

You couldn’t ask for a cuter couple. Here, Chanel, one of the most famous brand names in the world, an institution that practically invented chic. (Well, Mlle. Chanel was certainly an institution and, as for chic, who better?) And we have Peter, one of the most brilliant, imaginative, original architects of our time, a master of design. They were made for each other.

This story first appeared in the April 16, 2004 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Their latest love child is a huge Chanel boutique — one of the company’s largest in the world — opening in Tokyo in the middle of the prestigious Ginza district in December. Chanel has had a boutique in Tokyo since 1978, but this store is a step out into a sort of new world for Chanel, a luxurious repository for Karl Lagerfeld creations, plus all the accessories, cosmetics, perfumes, etc. that make up the famous double C logo. Peter Marino is building this new Chanel Tower both inside and out and, from the visuals, it will look like nothing else anywhere. The 10-story facade will be a dazzling, conceptual replica of a classic Chanel tweed, the kind Mademoiselle wore so often with her particular flair. In an amazing way, the fabric becomes the building and the building becomes the fabric. This effect is being achieved by using layer upon layer of woven stainless steel, liquid crystal glass from Austria and maybe four million — that’s million — light bulbs that will twinkle on and off, startlingly creating a building that could be made of tweed. It has to be seen to be believed, so see you in Tokyo in December.

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Making the scene at Brazilian Court hotel in Palm Beach was Conrad Black, who was the speaker at the hotel’s “Book and Author Series,” where he expounded on his biography of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a tome of more than 1,000 pages, which tells you everything you wanted to know, and some things you may not, about F.D.R. and his wife, Eleanor, including the fact that, “her sexuality was unresolved,” and that Franklin enjoyed, “very intense relationships,” according to Conrad. Considering the vast amount of research that has been put into this biography, there’s no reason to doubt him. Flash: Conrad has taken his $36 million Palm Beach mansion off the market. Around the time of his recent troubles, he announced he would sell it and it was put on the block. Five days ago, he changed his mind and has decided to keep his little paradise.

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Drew Barrymore wants to start a family some day, and it looks like her drummer beau, Fabrizio Moretti, from The Strokes, might be playing the daddy beat sooner rather than later. Some say — and some will say anything — that the two could be hatching a summer service. Drew would make a pretty June bride, especially since she’s looking downright slim lately. Nonetheless, she says she’s seriously thinking about motherhood. “I look forward to the prospect. I believe it’s the most romantic thing you could ever do, but I want to be realistic and do it when I’m ready. I can’t quite hear my body clock ticking just yet.” At 29, she doesn’t really have to hurry, ho-ho-ho.

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On the other hand, Julia Roberts, 36, can hear her body clock ticking loud and clear. She and her husband, Danny Moder, are talking about adopting a child, as she has been having a little problem with getting pregnant. She says they want children more than anything else in the world and Danny’s been quoted as saying, “We’ve always said we’re going to have a family, one way or the other.” So now they’re thinking of trying the other. They have just bought two side-by-side oceanfront houses in Malibu and they’re planning to spend millions to join the properties into a compound big enough to accommodate their planned expansion. Make way for the stork.

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Tom Cruise is settling into a Berlin state of mind as he gets ready to start filming “Mission Impossible 3” there during the summer. It’s said that he’s plopping down a reported $100,000 a month for a fabulous villa that was once the residence of a Swiss ambassador. Cruise chose the house, called Villa Kampffmeyer, rather than German fashion designer Wolfgang Joop’s Villa Wunderkind because of its security system, which includes surveillance cameras and sensitive motion sensors. Supposedly, there’s one teeny problem: The movie star wants to come and go by helicopter, but the space between the house and the fence may be a little tight. Sounds like a job for the “Mission Impossible 3” team.

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